Settle Into Your New Placement Quickly

So now that you’ve successfully secured your Work Integrated Learning placement, what’s next? It’s time to start preparing to get the most from the experience!

While it can be daunting to start in a new company, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you settle in quickly:

Define what you hope to achieve from the placement experience

You only have three months so make them count! Remember that while developing your technical skills is important, the primary focus of your WIL placement is practise your professional workplace skills including but certainly not limited to attending meetings, writing emails and practising your professional communication skills. Decide which of these skills you most wish to develop further and get in there and go for it!

Do your homework

This is the time to get yourself as prepared as possible for the real world. You are there to develop yourself, so treat your placement with the respect you would show towards a real job. Before your first day make sure you are knowledgeable on the key focus of the company, their mission and values, who they collaborate with etc.

Once you start, make sure you ask questions, show an interest, be present, and show that you genuinely want to be there. Remember having a positive attitude is far more important than how many degrees you may hold.

Practise the art of small talk

Small talk is a brilliant way to both build your confidence and make contacts within the company. While it can be daunting when you are faced with a lot of new people, make it a goal to talk to someone different in the company each day. You will be making new connections and you never know when they may come in handy further down your career path.

Be social; join in on coffee and lunches out

It’s not all about work. Coffees and lunches out are a great way to get to know your fellow colleagues better. This is an integral part of most Australian workplaces and one that is often a highlight of many workplaces. Make an effort to attend these if you can. Again, it’s another opportunity to network and build your confidence.

Be approachable, ask questions and smile

Don’t forget to smile! Make yourself approachable; don’t just sit at your desk doing nothing. Ask for projects and see if you can shadow other members of the team in order to broaden your knowledge. Ask questions – this is a very simple way to show your interest. Who knows what you might learn by asking a few questions.

Ask for feedback

So how do I improve? Ask for feedback. It can be as simple as asking your Host Company Mentor how they think you are progressing – this is an excellent opportunity to then reassess and refocus your goals. Ask your mentor what advice they have for someone at your stage in your career. Remember they were there once too so they are more than qualified to provide great feedback.

By keeping a positive attitude and being openly receptive to your new environment, there is no doubt you will feel part of the team in no time. Enjoy this experience, and you never know where it may take you!

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